A new government fund will be used to hire 850 new teachers, according to the education secretary. The ministry also highlighted its preparedness in handling coronavirus, once the schools reopen.
The Scottish government confirmed plans to hire 850 new teachers once the schools reopen in August using £50m provided to the ministry. While announcing the plan, education Secretary John Swinney also indicated that a further 200 school staff would also be recruited to aid in reopening of the schools.
Swinney continued by saying that the government was also allocating £20m to councils. The money will be used to help in areas such as cleaning, transportation and health protection of the staff. These funds were part of the government’s £100m.
850 new teachers hiring discussed in parliament
While appearing before Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs), Swinney said the rules of distancing would be different for teachers, primary school schools and secondary schools. He said that teachers would require to observe a two meters social distancing between each other. He also further explained that primary school students were not required to social distance, only when it was deemed necessary should social distancing be followed. Secondary schools were allowed to social distance to curb the spread of coronavirus.
On how to deal with localized coronavirus breakouts once the schools are reopened, Swinney said they were working to put in place an advanced surveillance testing in schools. The system would be able to capture new cases in schools which would be dealt with through measures drafted on a school by school basis.
Asked if teachers, staff and students were required to wear masks when the schools reopened, Swinney said that the decision rested on the individual’s preferences. He added that mask-wearing was not essential.
Swinney also noted that with the hiring of 850 new teachers and the reopenings, they anticipated a spike in cases of coronavirus. He said the ministry would also be able to handle personal protective equipment required and would protect children, once the schools are reopened.
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